This evening I spoke against the submitted plans for 29 Hollymeoak Road. My reasons are set out below, but I urge you to consider also watching the comments of a local resident who spoke passionately in defence of his community. The application starts approximately 2.15 hours into the meeting.
The Planning Committee took a vote to approve, proposed by a Labour Councillor. Approval was not supported, falling six votes to four.
They then, following an additional discussion, voted on a motion to refuse the application. This was proposed by a Conservative councillor, and we were successful 6 votes to 4!
Thank you Chair.
Many local residents have contacted me about this, and I’m pleased to follow Mr Higham who has eloquently expressed justifiable concerns – not only about the merits of the application but of the issues in its presentation to committee.
There appears to be a significant amount of creative license given in the submission, to hide the scale difference proposed, which is concerning. Odd comparisons, and inaccurate statements litter this application – as Mr Higham expressed.
Hollymeoak Road is a semi-rural narrow winding road with no pavements. Clause 127 (c) of the NPPF says “Planning policies and decisions should ensure that developments … are sympathetic to local character and history, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting.’
Even a lay observer will be able to see that the application does not comply with the ‘suburban’ description used in the document or the ‘Urban’ description claimed by the developers. It is not your typical ‘Croydon’ road. The application completely dominates the plot; towering over neighbouring properties that are generously spaced and respect the trees and green character of the area.
Paragraph 131 of the NPPF – applications should “fit in with the overall form and layout of their surroundings”. This doesn’t do that and is clearly not in keeping with the local area in terms of both design and massing.
The lack of pavements, and premium on parking in the community begs serious questions about whether adequate local infrastructure is in place to protect this area from overdevelopment. There is a very clear reason why this has been given a PTAL of zero – something not commonly seen. One family dwelling, increased to six flats, each with at least one vehicle, will add undeniable pressure onto local roads. Where will additional off-site vehicles go? So the local community cites issues with parking, highway safety and traffic.
Residents have also flagged serious issues about the balconies to the rear of the design that are estimated to be 50 feet from properties behind, overlooking into neighbouring houses and so triggering concerns about loss of privacy that should be mitigated. They are also small, and so offer poor quality amenity space for potential residents, breaching Croydon Local Plan DM10.6.
From an environmental point of view, I have concerns about the loss of mature hedges in this well-established semi-rural garden site Concreting over of garden space will take place; the loss of natural vegetation and natural habitat. Local Plan Policies DM27 and DM28 which seek to preserve and maintain existing trees in development sites.
Policy DM10.1 of the Croydon Local Plan states: "The Council will take into account cumulative impact.”. Local intelligence suggests that the developers have reached agreement to purchase the adjoining property at number 31, due to be completed in September. In addition two doors down on Caversham Close is a six building development already nearing completion. The impact on the local area is therefore great. This is not the first time I have objected to large and inappropriate developments on this road, and there appears to be a clear intention that this will continue – changing the character of the road forever. Please bear that in mind as you make your decision.
The last iteration of this application when refused had 101 local objections.
This time 134 local residents, including the Coulsdon West Residents’ Association and Chipstead Residents’ Association, have written in the strongest possible terms to protect the character of this community.
I strongly urge the Committee to listen and act in accordance with the wishes of local people.